Distant Thunders: Destroyermen
by Taylor Anderson
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451463333
Date: 01 June 2010 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The battle is won, but the war looms. Having defeated the Grik and their Japanese allies, the survivors of the Walker and Mahon with their Lemurian allies prepare to take the war to the Grik. The Grik's seemingly single-mindedness is cracking. Their leaders have for the first time accepted that they may need to change their standard tactics. Added to the mix, is the separate agenda of the New Britons, where two groups vie for power.
All three of the major ships are sunk. The Amagi is being stripped down for metal and parts. The Walker is going to be dry-docked and evaluated for recovery or stripping. But unknown to the newcomers is that another ship came through the storm. The cargo of this ship may be able to give the Americans and their allies a decisive advantage in the next round of action. The hope for a quick alliance with the New Britons does not seem likely despite the favor of Princess Rebecca.
Seizing on the advantage gained in the victory the allies push forward to take the war to the Grik. Oddly, the Grik seem to have retreated, something completely unexpected. This new policy has been dictated from the highest level. The Grik are changing to survive. While taking back the area that is Singapore in this world, the crew fights a major battle and is surprised when Commander Billingsly kidnaps Princess Rebecca, Sandy, Larry, and Dennis Silva.
Matt Redding orders the offensive to continue while he returns to pursue Billingsly. Captain Jenks of the New Britain Imperial Navy is aghast at the actions of Billingsly, especially after having faced the Grik. He joins in the pursuit. The actions of Billingsly may provoke a second front and a war that the Lemurains don't need.
This is the fourth book of the series of The Destroyermen. It picks up in the immediate aftermath of the conclusion of Maelstrom. It is another action packed entrant into the adventure of Matthew Reddy and his crew. I enjoyed this book as much as the others set in this alternate world. Readers do need to read the first three books in the series to untangle the knot of characters and subplots that have been developed and are growing.
Although I enjoyed Distant Thunders, I am concerned that the author is going to continue to bring through additional ships as needed. The deus ex machina nature of the arrival of timely equipment or personnel is a concern. There has to be a point at which no more came through. It is a minor issue, more of a pet peeve, that I hope has ended with this latest discovery. I want to see the crew overcome their problems on their own. This is not a reason to stay away, but a little heads up.
I was surprised by the ending, as I thought one of the storylines was likely to continue in a different direction and over more time. It did leave a nice opening for the next book. There are several routes the next book can take, and I look forward to seeing which route is taken. I am hoping for a little more on what is developing behind Grik lines.
There is one point where there is a discussion about the nature of the storms. This was a well thought out idea and opens the door for further discovery and adventures. This world is then somewhat similar to the situation created by William Forstchen in his Lost Regiment Series or Harry Turtledove's Videssos series. Fan's of those series should enjoy this one and visa versa.